I believe leaning to spell is very important when the students are young and learning to read. It is important to learn all the sounds that different phonograms make and how they are spelled. It can be confusing if they are not presented in a logical order and can lead to poor spelling. I am a grammar nerd and a word lover, and I worked hard to teach my kids to spell while they were learning to read. BUT, they ALL still struggle with spelling words correctly...just like their dad (who is an avid reader). I still wonder how much spelling is related to genetics. I wish I knew how to help them overcome the spelling hurdle, but it looks like it will be a life-long challenge for them.
Jackie: The word "that" is used to begin a restrictive clause. Some writers insist that the word "that" cannot be used to refer to people, but in situations where the people are not specifically named, it is acceptable.
Lee, I love your articles. Thank you for sharing. I hear lots of homeschool moms say they are terrible spellers and they guess their children will be to and they seem to accept that. That is okay for them, but not so much for me. I guess my frustration is, if you don't know how to spell something, look it up.
Just as a small tease, and I may be wrong on this so correct me if I am, in your third paragraph shouldn't the first sentence say, "call from a mother WHO was describing"?
Thanks again, Lee.
I must admit I am a stickler for spelling. I guess it's because spelling comes easy for me, I'm a former newspaper editor, and when I was in elementary school, my school's culture communicated that misspelled words were a mark of ignorance and being uneducated. I don't personally believe this on a conscious level, and I'm indebted to spell-check myself, but I do think I tend to discount written discourse that is riddled with grammatical and spelling errors. If someone doesn't have time to communicate their thoughts carefully, I don't have time to read them.
I use AVKO and my kids are great spellers... Way above "grade- level," whatever that means. Is it because of AVKO or does spelling come easily to them? I don't know. But I'm glad they can spell and punctuate pretty well.
Thank you for the reminder that spelling is not the final determiner in one's success in life. Two out of three sons are spelling challenged in our family. We have tried many programs over the years, yet still have not found the magic bullet. Both spelling challenged sons score well above average in Math, Science, and Thinking Skills on standardized tests. God has blessed them with strengths and weaknesses that a loving wife will compliment. After all, my dear husband (who manages a successful local business)also compensates by asking me how to spell a word when needed. God truely does prepare us for the work which He calls us to.
I think that the most important skill in spelling is to recognize when a word IS misspelled. Once you have that down, you can figure out how to correct it. We have been using Sequential Spelling for years and love it!
Spelling Ace has proved to be the most effective spelling enhancer for my kids. Additionally, the thesaurus feature increases their compositions at the push of a button. By means of stealth, the hangman game offers practice in spelling that they otherwise would complete grudgingly.
I need to exercise more grace in my life toward others. My pet peeve is misspelled words from highly educated individuals! How someone can pass AP physics, calculus and the like with flying colors, and misuse or misspell simple words just drives me crazy! Maybe it's because I could spell that I didn't have to take advanced math and science courses. Someone has to be the spelling police!!!! There is a reason I don't like texting, too. (My spell check doesn't recognize texting!!!!)
I tried using Spelling Power with my kids, since they didn't seem to inherit my panache for words. They didn't like it, and I never enjoyed learning from a list either. I guess I never did teach spelling as a separate subject, but we always played a lot of games with words, Quiddler being a family favorite, and Scrabble. Today my daughter is a better speller than she was even a year ago, and my son tied for 3rd in the local spelling bee. We just always studied the words we were using, and any rules that applied to those words.
We used only Spelling Power. I have to say, her quick start video was extremely helpful! Once I recognized how to use that spelling program for all learning styles, it was a perfect fit for our family.
To be honest, I don't think it's just homeschool mothers that are doing it. I think it's the general population. I also think it has to do with how quickly people are typing when they work, so I try to give them a break for the most part. I know I'm not always perfect - I do a ton of writing and it's almost impossible to get everything write all the time.
Lee, why is it that I see so often in the emails and handouts of homeschool mothers:
their, there, they're
used incorrectly? Is it just because spell check can't pick it up? It's embarrassing!!
I get distinct pleasure out of sightings of misplaced apostrophes on signs and in advertising brochures. My kids may have trouble spelling but I know, at least, they will not mix up its and it's. Thank you for the timely words just prior to another year of my saying, "Go look it up in the dictionary."
Hey, check out this article about a couple who just had to do something about errors on national park signs!
The problem with spell check, is that it's not always an issue of spelling. Like "wanton-wonton." We also had an issue with "shudder-shutter" in the upcoming newsletter, but I didn't think I should bring that up at the same time! But that wouldn't have been picked up by spell check either.
I would also like to mention that my husband and I are products of our public schools. They don't know how to teach these things perfectly either :-)
On my students' computer accounts, I turn off the spell check on the word processor. For each each student I draw up a list of words she misspelled (usually about 5 words). The list is then studied for a weekly test. Sometimes there aren't any misspelled words. On those occasions, I pick out words that are commonly misspelled or really challenging words.
I don't practice what I preach, though. I use spell check and the Google search toolbar on my browser. Google usually lets me know if I've misspelled something. I don't think I've ever known my DH to misspell anything other than names.
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